Stop West Ham United's move to the Olympic Stadium
This petition had 1,715 supporters
The decision made by the London Legacy Development Corporation and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in March 2013 to gift the Olympic stadium to West Ham United FC could see Leyton Orient Football Club fold due to unfair competition being just a mile away . West Ham will be given many millions of pounds from local and national funding. This petition calls on Government to review the, in our view, illegal state subsidy of a private, profit-making company and overturn the decision for West Ham to be given the Olympic Stadium.
Leyton Orient is London's second oldest professional football club, having been established in 1881 and admitted to the football league in 1905. It is a community-based, family club (currently holding a Family Club Award from the Football League); has a core following of loyal supporters based both locally and further afield and has an excellent reputation as a well-run Club who are financially secure and with a strong emphasis on youth development.
The Club is at the heart of a thriving East London community with sporting, educational and health projects run from the club grounds and by its staff reaching tens of thousands of people each year. It has close links, and shares facilities with the SCORE project which works with children and schools from the local community.
Leyton Orient's future is under threat from the decision made by the London Legacy Development Corporation and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in March 2013 to gift the Olympic stadium to West Ham United FC. In order to fund the move from their current ground, West Ham will be given £40m from Newham Council. Newham Council serves one of the most deprived areas in the UK and whilst they cut funding from public services and public sector wages, they see fit to donate £40m to a profit-making private company without consultation with their local taxpayers. In addition, the Department of Culture, Media and Support will provide £38.7m whilst another £25m will come from the Department of Community and Local Government to fund the stadium conversion. Thereafter, West Ham will pay such a small rent that, given that the stadium operator will be responsible for pitch maintenance, stewarding etc, meaning they get the stadium for free. This amounts to state funding for one football team to have the monopoly on a national stadium – a deal which we believe to be contrary to the European rules on state funding.
Furthermore West Ham will move to within one mile of Leyton Orient’s ground. This move contravenes Premier League and Football League rules which state a move will only be sanctioned when it ”would not adversely affect Clubs (or Football League clubs) having their registered grounds in the immediate vicinity of the proposed location".
Currently West Ham cannot fill their existing Boleyn Ground without resorting to cheap tickets. With an additional 19,000 added to their capacity it is inevitable (WHUFC having already confirmed this) that they will flood the local area with cheap rate tickets; their local area will, by then, of course, be Leyton Orient’s catchment area. Barry Hearn, Chairman of Leyton Orient Football Club said “No youngster in our catchment area would go to Leyton Orient if West Ham are at the Olympic Stadium... My front door is 750 yards from the Olympic Stadium. The Olympics was about dreams, but why does that dream die after three or four weeks?"
The owners, board, staff and fans of Orient are united in their concern that this move could signal the end of Leyton Orient Football Club. Barry Hearn spoke in the House of Lords on 24th July 2013 about the issue in more detail: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=13700
In addition to this, there are the wider implications for the small commercial businesses which are local to WHUFC’s current stadium losing significant business. There are strong indications that the legendary Anne Boleyn pub and the old peoples’ clubs housed within the WHUFC social clubs will not survive. This move is going to affect two communities; it will change the faces of Leyton and Upton Park forever - and we do not believe it to be in either community’s interest.
The people signing this petition do not agree with West Ham United being granted state funding to subsidise their move to the Olympic Stadium – not least because of the effect such a move will have on local services, and the communities of Upton Parkand Leyton. Furthermore they are signing to confirm that we want you, the Government, to overturn this decision and protect the communities of Leyton and Upton Park and in turn the future of Leyton Orient Football Club.
Today: Stand Up for the Orient is counting on you
Stand Up for the Orient needs your help with “Department for Culture, Media and Sport: Stop West Ham United's move to the Olympic Stadium”. Join Stand Up for the Orient and 1,714 supporters today.